Trending: How Merchants Increase Profits in Q4 Holiday Sales

As consumers continue to start earlier and earlier to shop for their holiday giving, merchants are honing their marketing strategies.

Their tools include advertising, brand protection, strategic pricing, staging events, and using traditional media and digital.

In essence, consumers shop earlier for a head start to capitalize on the best deals. To lure shoppers, marketers are using multi-channels – from traditional media to digital.

ID-100111025 marinA  2015 Market Track, LLC study showed 83 percent of shoppers planned to complete most of their shopping for holiday gift-giving by Cyber Monday or earlier.

Companies are doing it to themselves. Thanksgiving discounting served to train consumers to shop earlier and earlier. And businesses and began discounting earlier to gain a competitive edge.

For in-store selling, Black Friday is staying dominant. Cyber Monday will lure the majority of digital shoppers.

The overall effect is that price differentials between online and in-store sales are continuing to narrow.

Retailers are pulling out all the stops to influence shoppers to purchase online, pick up items in the store, offer free shipping and accelerated deliver of online purchases.

So shoppers are hunting anywhere and everywhere for deals. That includes print ads, Web sites, TV commercials and e-mail promotions.

Consumers continue to compare prices for electronic products online – Amazon’s wheelhouse.

Marketing tactics

— As early as October, merchants are offering door-buster sales and the so-call best deals of the season.

— Businesses are strategizing to make it difficult for consumers to compare prices and product features. Merchants are focusing on bundled and layered offers, and marketing their private-label products.

— Traditional media will dominate – print ads, television and radio. They’re also using e-mail, social media and in-the-moment advertising in-stores.

— Mobile marketing will be increasingly used with a focus on user experience and convenience.

— Businesses are increasingly using event marketing and opportunities for consumers to try products before they buy.

— Strategies include in-store drawings and sweepstakes.

— They’ll continue to push gift cards.

From the Coach’s Corner, related sales strategies:

Checklist to Create Cyber Monday Sales Success — In order to celebrate your Cyber Monday sales, you must first create a happy buying environment. That means reviewing your store and Web site to attract prospects and to create happy customers.

Web Site ‘Priming’ – 6 Tips That Will Help You Succeed — If you want to increase your odds for Internet success, you might consider priming your Web site. Six primes motivate your visitors to make decisions.

Social Media – 5 Quick Tips to Boost Your Christmas Sales — Here are five social-media ways to increase sales by the end of the holiday season.

7 Precautions for a Profitable Layaway Program — Despite the continuous changes in technology, retailers are reverting to a sales and customer-loyalty practice that was prevalent in the 1950s. That would be a layaway program to sell more products to cash-strapped customers. Big box stores, such as Walmart and Toys R Us, have benefited from PR when they’ve announced their layaway programs.

Marketing Tips to Run Your Online Business for Higher Profit — E-commerce has made it possible for entrepreneurs to get a fast return on their investments with higher profits. Here’s how they do it.

Strategic Tips to be Web-Ready for the All-Important Q4 Sales — Data from a Bold Software survey helps businesses develop their holiday online sales strategies, according to Website Magazine.

Energize Your Customer-Loyalty Program with 6 Steps — The quickest way for established businesses to optimize revenue is to have a stellar customer-loyalty program — there are six steps you can take for repeat sales and referrals. If you’re not a great steward of your current book of business, it’s futile to look for new customers.  

“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust.”

-Bob Burg


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 

Photo courtesy of marin at

Why it’s Never Too Early to Plan for Q4 E-commerce

It’s never to early to get ready ASAP for Q4 online sales. reports shoppers start early and are buying more items daily in the holiday shopping season.

Why? A study of e-commerce released in 2012 covering from November 24 to December 24, 2011, discloses some secrets you might need to know.

ID-100258178But the size of their shopping carts soon decrease significantly.

That’s the conclusion from studying data from merchants using MerchantTribe shopping cart software – for books, clothing, electronics, software, and sporting goods.

“We were surprised by the significant change in how much is spent per-order over the season,” said Marcus McConnell, founder of MerchantTribe.

“That seemed to defy the conventional wisdom that shoppers are as influenced by price at the beginning of the season than at the end,” explained Mr. McConnell.

“Perhaps shoppers purchase gifts for more important recipients first. Or maybe they wait for harder to shop for friends and family members and they’ve exhausted their budgets,” he added.

He provides another important conclusion: “Either way, they become more cost conscious the closer to Christmas they shop.”

More details from the study:

  • Customers placed more online orders as the season progressed, peaking on December 20.
  • Merchants made the highest amount of revenue per day shortly after Thanksgiving.
  • Customers spent significantly more per online order at the beginning of the season than at the end.
  • Conversion rates rose throughout the season, but dropped off around December 20.

To attract more cost-conscious buyers late in the selling season, Mr. McConnell’s suggests:

  1. Bundle your sale items.
  2. On minimum orders, offer discount shipping rates.
  3. Create late-breaking affordable groups.
  4. Because conversion rates increase when shoppers stop comparing prices, but conversions decrease about December 20, consider increasing shipping rates to offset the smaller orders.

For more, Website Magazine published a informative article: Merchant’s Marketing Guide to Christmas in July. It provides excellent reminders about promotions, keywords, e-mail, social media and mobile advertising.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related resources:

Checklist: Black Friday, Cyber Monday Sales Success — In order to celebrate your Cyber Monday sales, you must first create a happy buying environment. That means reviewing  your store and Web site to attract prospects and to create happy customers. If you’ve prepared your merchandise and cleaned your store, you’re half done in creating happy customers.

How Small Businesses Can Capitalize on Cyber Strategies for Profit — Yes, it’s become important for small businesses to capitalize on cyber strategies for profit. Small and even regional retailers should be cognizant of three realities.

5 Strategies to Sell More from Your Web Site — To paraphrase a line from the movie, “Field of Dreams,” it’s not always true that if you build a Web site, people will buy. These five tips work.

Web Site ‘Priming’ – 6 Tips That Will Help You Succeed — If you want to increase your odds for Internet success, you might consider priming your Web site. Priming is a method to motivate users to make decisions when they visit your site. I gather the term was coined by the inventor of a testing tool that enables Web-site owners to obtain reactions to their sites.

Convert More Prospects with 10 Best Marketing Tips (Even on a Tight Budget) — So you’ve got a pile of business cards from prospects, but you haven’t converted them? Great sales stem from great marketing. You can’t grow crops until you plant the right seeds. That’s the purpose of marketing.

“E-commerce businesses, even e-commerce specialists, have yet to realize that the WWW is first and foremost an emotional experience. Few websites reflect this important priority.”

-Grant Fairley


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy stockimages

In Q4, Why ‘the Overflow of a Revived Heart Is Always Generous Living’

Have you properly prepared for fall – the stewardship season? That’s considered the time to finish plans for the upcoming year. Around the start of the fourth quarter, you see it everywhere in business.

Budgets are being finalized, a new round of layoffs start as companies realize they have unfavorable profit margins, and nonprofits struggle for success in donations. Wall Street is not exempt during October, either, with investors. We’ve witnessed the volatility on the stock market back in October of 1929 and 1987.

In accompanying my parents to their church service in semi-rural Oregon in a recent fall, I was moved by the pastor’s sermon: “The overflow of a revived heart is always generous living.” It was the second poignant message of the day.

ID-100279881 Mister GCEarlier that morning in my parents’ hometown newspaper, The Register-Guard, the front page headline read: “Lessons in survival – Homeless students struggle with obstacles on and off campus, and their numbers are growing.”

The article mentioned Oregon has 20,000 homeless students. The kids have major obstacles in trying to graduate from high school. They have to have faith their lives will improve with a high school diploma.

Even if they find a place to sleep and shower, they have to wear the same clothes every day to school – where they encounter sarcasm from their fellow students.

Peer pressure can be devastating for young minds. The Greek verb for sarcasm, sarcazo, means “to tear flesh.” Instead, these kids need to be congratulated for their efforts. It’s a terrible thing not to have hope.

The newspaper story and the sermon have lessons for all thoughtful Americans – there is economic misery everywhere. Even working families are struggling to make ends meet.

And even those who lead comfortable lives have trouble managing stress, while taking their success for granted. One of the most-read articles on this portal is 30 Time Management, Stress Reducing Skills.

Value of mentoring

Early in my career, I benefited from the counsel of three beloved mentors whom I treasure, who advised me in spiritual and business matters. They were very accessible and generous in giving of their philosophies and insights.

Independently of one another, they each reminded me the same message – focus on an attitude of gratitude.

Thirty+ years ago in a recession when I was in divorce proceedings and sold advertising for two Los Angeles sister radio stations, I encountered cash-strapped prospects every day. Thankfully, I could telephone my first mentor – a busy executive – on weekdays at three p.m. His secretary  had orders to take my call. Only three people had such a privilege – his boss, wife and me. I got the feeling that he closed his office door, sat down and put his feet on the desk, and spent 30 glorious minutes inspiring me.

One day, he advised me that helping others will improve my outlook. He suggested: “Look around for someone less-fortunate to help. Then, do what you can. But don’t tell anybody what you’ve done. Otherwise, it won’t count.”

A few years later, the second mentor once observed: “When we’re stressed, it’s because we’re focused on the 10 percent of our lives that isn’t working instead of the 90 percent that is.”

After a long period of success, there was a time when it seemed my career was taking two steps forward but one back. The third mentor told me: “Consider where you were five years ago. Consider where you are now. Write a gratitude list.”

Despite their huge success, these men were very humble. To each, I once said: “If I were to compensate you, I’d have to write a check for $100,000.”

Individually, they each told me to forget the check: “When you get the chance, pass it on.”

Focus on what’s important

Not until we face humbling experiences do we usually begin to fully appreciate the important things – starting with family, friends, pets and homes. For businesspeople, that includes cash flow, thanks to clients or customers.

Gratitude leads to hope, which is very powerful because it leads to accomplishments.

Perhaps you’re mindful of these economic developments in your community and have taken action. If not, please consider it’s time to do what is possible to lessen the misery of the world.

Especially, if you’ve managed to overcome obstacles, consider: The overflow of a revived heart is always generous living – generous with your philanthropy. It’s true. I have retired friends who now work full-time at helping others. You know what? Proverbially, that’s what floats their boat, and they’re the most-happy people I know.

By Thanksgiving Day, my fervent wish is that every businessperson takes stock of what’s working in their lives and careers, and start spending more quality time with family. Then, do something else.

The options are many. Launch a scholarship fund for worthy students. Mentor someone. Or find a worthy charity or religious organization that needs you. You can help in at least one of three ways – with your time, effort or money.

Thank you. You’ll be glad you did. I guarantee “the overflow of revived heart is always generous living.” You’ll feel even better if you practice year-round.

P.S. Your thoughts are welcome here. Spread the message. And if you have children, talk with them about sarcasm and lessening the misery of the world.

From the Coach’s Corner, did you know Cause-Related Marketing Can Increase Sales by Double Digits?

Evening news is where they begin with “Good evening,” and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 

Enthusiasm Prevails in 2010 Q4 Plans of Internet Marketers

Oct. 22, 2010

Almost two-thirds of respondents in an Internet marketing study forecast healthy double-digit percentage increases this holiday season, according to a Website Magazine report on the 2010 eHoliday Study.

This year 63.3 percent anticipate 15 percent or higher increases in sales. That compares to 45.8 percent of responding marketers last year.

BIGresearch conducted the study for

Website Magazine reported other salient data:   

  • 40 percent of online retailers will begin holiday marketing by Halloween, and another 40 percent will begin by November 1 
  • 84.5 percent will offer free shipping at some point during the holiday season
  • 72.5 percent have increased their Facebook presence for the holidays
  • 54.9 percent have enhanced or invested in product pages for cross-selling during the holidays
  • 54.9 percent have optimized site search features to maximize holiday sales
  • 52.9 percent have invested in customer ratings and reviews platforms in advance of the holidays
  • 43.1 percent will increase their presence on Twitter this holiday season

The magazine also reports 32.2 percent of shoppers will shop online.

Here’s why:

  • 35.1 percent – 24-hour convenience
  • 33.1 percent – easy price comparisons
  • 30.8 percent – lack of crowds

So, consider what your competitors might be planning, and strategize what’s best for you.

For other marketing insights, you might wish to review this site’s Marketing/Sales and Tech business-coaching columns. You’ll find more than 130.

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.